Not Ready for College this Fall? Start in Spring.

Many students don’t think about deferring college till spring because the concept is foreign to them. Since they were 4 or 5 years old, school always starts in September. So it’s more about habit than anything else. They also feel that they are “behind” their other classmates and high school friends if starting in spring.  Once you are on campus, no one knows or cares when you started.  However, there are many benefits to starting college in the spring term instead of fall if needed.

If you just aren’t ready for college, then wait.  Going to college before you are ready can cause a lot of issues once on campus such as lack of focus, poor grades, premature dropping out and changing of majors many times over.  If needed, take some time to think about your future and your career in a “constructive”  way that fall.  One of the benefits of a spring start is that you are competing with fewer students for those required first semester classes and therefore, you are more likely to get them.  Also, your orientation is smaller and you get much more personalized attention from staff and faculty about living on campus and choosing classes. If you feel that your credits are dragging, take a few summer classes to make up for the spring start.  As I said, take advantage of the fall term when everyone else is away at school (September though December) in a constructive way by interning, working and/or meeting with professional in your desired field to make sure it’s the right fit for you.  Then you can start in spring more confident about your choices.  High school to college is a very big switch and some teens are better with change than others.  Taking a semester off isn’t a cop-out, it’s a small choice for some families and students.

Not a Perfect Ten..but Close. (A Teen Story of Self-Esteem)

I am the rare eight out of 10 on a scale of self-esteem. About those missing two points… It’s a visual thing, you know? People tell me, “Oh you have such a great figure!” or, “Oh you have such long legs!” or, “Oh, you’re so skinny!” and part of me believes them. But then I get a bad case of the “yeah buts…”

So I have long legs. Yeah, but… I have hairy arms. I think I get them from my dad, and I hate them so much!  I just want to shave them or wax them or something, but my mom says I’ll just make it worse and that my arms are beautiful the way they are.

So I am skinny. Yeah, but… I am TOO skinny. While some of my classmates starve themselves, I eat to gain weight. But I have a fast metabolism and it never quite works.

So I have a nice figure. Yeah, but… I have NO boobs. The media says I should have BIG boobs. Sometimes I look at other girls and think, Why can’t mine be like that? 

The “yeah buts” keep me from a 10 out of 10.

So where do the “yeah buts” come from? The media, I guess. Think of all the beautiful celebrities: Hourglass figures. Voluminous hair (on their heads and not their arms, of course!). White teeth. Blue eyes. No wrinkles. I know these are unrealistic expectations. I KNOW that. But sometimes I still want to experience what it feels like to have people look at me and think, Wow, she’s perfect! 

Other than the visual thing, I have good self-esteem. I have no idea where it came from. My mom and brother have anger issues and my dad just kind of goes with the flow, you know? I think looking at life positively and surrounding myself with a strong support system of family and friends helps. I try to hang out with positive people too. A lot of girls I used to be friends with were always saying things like, “Oh, I don’t have a boyfriend because this or that is wrong with me,” or, “Oh, I need a boyfriend.” Every conversation. I tried to tell them they were amazing just how they were, but some of them kept complaining. I can’t hang out with them anymore. Listening to them, I started feeling bad about myself too. It was hard, you know?

I don’t just ignore someone if they need help though. Like my friend who was depressed about her weight and contemplating suicide. Oh my God. What do you do when someone tells you that?  I asked her mom and she said she was out of ideas; nothing ever helped. So I got a group of girls together to talk to my friend and make her feel better. We’re not as close anymore, but I think she’s okay now. Another time, I asked a friend why her arm was bleeding, and she said that she cut herself over her boyfriend. I told her it wasn’t worth it; he wasn’t worth it. He wasn’t worth her time. I think she actually stopped for good. It’s just so sad, you know? That a girl would do this because of a boy.

There’s what girls will do because of a boy, but then there’s what they’ll do for a boy, right? I think boys put a lot of pressure on girls sometimes. They’ll say things like, “We’ve been dating a long time now. Things are getting boring so we need to try something new.” Or, “Well, so-and-so would do it,” and then the girl starts to feel bad if they don’t do it too. Or, “That’s the way to show affection if you really love me.” One girl in my school even sexted a naked picture to her boyfriend because he asked for it. Then he showed it to the whole school. Can you imagine? THE WHOLE SCHOOL. I felt so bad for her. It was horrible, just horrible.

I’ve had my run-ins with peer pressure too, what with my great figure and nice legs and all. Like the time I was dating this guy for only two weeks, and out of nowhere, he asked me for a blow job! Can you believe it? I told him he was crazy. And, he had texted it to me! That’s just CRAZY, right? I was like, “I don’t even know you!” I broke up with him the next day.

I am seventeen. I am a senior. I am 100% Mexican. I am more artistic than scholarly. I run track and go to work. I am an eight out of 10. Yeah, but…

Yeah, but… I would really like those other two points.

Helping Hobbies that Build Self-Esteem: When you help others, you sometimes help yourself..

Guest Blog by Domonique Chardon 

Here are three hobbies that can help others as well as your own self-esteem.

Volunteering: Whether you’re helping out at a local organization, raising awareness for a particular cause, or fundraising for an issue you believe in — volunteering is an extremely fulfilling hobby.  Getting familiar with issues in your community and more importantly the people and organizations behind them, is a great way to give back and also benefit from the experience. It’s also a great way to make new friends and meet new people that you might not otherwise run into. A kind heart is always remembered.

Baking: You’d be surprised how far one cupcake will go!  Baking is a fantastic hobby that does require some skill and a penchant for hitting the sweet spot; but what I love the most about baking is:  I’m not the only one who can enjoy the results! One may not notice at first, but there are plenty of opportunities to apply baking skills. Aside from baking for special occasions like birthdays etc., I’m a firm believer that any day is a good day for a cupcake! Or a cookie, or cake, or cake pops, or brownies, or  -– you get my drift. The Baker is adored.

Physical Challenge: Let’s face it – not all of us were born athletes or are where we want to be in terms of physical fitness. That’s why choosing a physical challenge as a hobby is difficult; however, it can be most rewarding. Besides improving your health another upside is the various options one can choose from.  There’s literally something for everyone. If you don’t enjoy working out in a gym you can hike, bike or run outdoors. Why not join team in training, a road race, an organized walk or a marathon where all the proceeds go to a great cause. Knowing that you are doing it for others will help push you along.  It’s a win win situation. When you challenge your body, you also challenge your mind. It takes determination to commit to practicing a physical hobby regularly.  As your stamina builds you will become even more determined and you will see results!

Domonique Chardon is a bay area native, young professional, aspiring writer and a spiritual being having a human experience. 

Twitter: Domonique_007